Dementia

November 25, 2008 at 10:53 pm 19 comments

We learned so much in school about older people and dementia, but I have to say, it was quite the shock to go visit my grandmother and have her say to me, “you look so familiar, but I can’t place where I know you from.”  I was just floored.  I know she has Alzheimer’s, and I know it is progressive, but I was so shocked that she didn’t know who I was that I became dumbfounded and speechless.  I stammered for what must have been 2 minutes and ended up abruptly changing the topic.

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19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dementia - aishel - OTConnections  |  November 25, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    […] (From my blog) […]

    Reply
  • 2. Alzheimers home | Symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease  |  November 27, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    […] November 25, 2008 We learned so much in school about older people and dementia, but I have to say, it was quite the shock to go visit my grandmother and have her say to me, “you look so familiar, but I can’t place where I know you from.”  I was just floored.  I know she has Alzheimer’s, and I know it is progressive, but I was so shocked that she didn’t know who I was that I became dumbfounded and speechless.  I stammered for what must have been 2 minutes and ended up abruptly changing the topic Alzheimers Test News […]

    Reply
  • 3. Lee  |  January 3, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    My grandmother had Alzheimers and would look at me with “that knowing look” (you look familiar but….) I came to visit every couple of months and whenever I saw her I always greeted her with: Hi Grnadma it’s Lee, Mary’s daughter..; I always go a positive response and we would reminise about family and friends. She and I would enjoy ourselves, laughing and talking.

    She lived in assited living at the time. I had a staff member actually ask me why I came when she wouldn’t remember our visit almost as soon as I left. I told the staff member that the only time any of us really have is now and when we visited we had a wonderful time. And now I have those wonderful memories of shared time with my gandmother, a woman who was so devoted to her family.

    So, as a professional the reality of meshing it with the personal can be difficult. Changes can occur at such different rates of time. When you visit, start with what ever is your “normal” greeting and modify it from there. Keep your expectations to a minimum, sharing a smile or going to just share your love with her. Enjoy what you can…

    I have taken my personal experience with my grandmother and applied it to many “patients” over the years. I always approach gently, introduce myself and go forward to make the person as comfortable as possible to enter into that wonderful therapeutic relationship….

    Reply
  • 4. Anita Williamson  |  January 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I, unfortunately, have had the opportunity to experience Alzheimers up clase and personal with two family members. It is such a sad illness for not only the one who is stricken, but also family and friends as they have to adjust to the changing mental capacity and personality of a loved one. The progression of the disease is inevitable. I found that by staying in the present and embracing the positives (their smile, what brings them joy, etc.) about the person at that moment helps me deal with the pain of the disease.
    Caregivers for dementia patients carry so much stress, we need to remember that when working the this patient population. It is very easy to get isolated and sometimes just having someone to talk to can help you reconcile your feelings, validate your emotions and reenergize you to face another day. Finding creative ways to help them manage the stress only benefits our patients in the short and long term.
    Check out this news clip on a new study for caregivers .

    http://www.king5.com/video/healthlink-index.html?nvid=313147&she=1

    Reply
  • 5. Claire Hayward  |  February 11, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Hey just wanted to let you know about the new OT carnival and ask you to consider submitting a post, more about it on my blog http://e-nableot.blogspot.com/2009/02/occupational-therapy-carnival-call-for.html

    Reply
  • 6. Rashmi Bhatia  |  April 3, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Hi,
    I am a Masters of Occupational Therapy student and am undertaking a project exploring benefits and application of Yoga for post stroke clients. There is lot of research supporting the benefits of applying Yoga for various disabilities but there seems to be lack of literature on how to adapt Yoga for post stroke clients. I wish to evoke a discussion on how yoga is being adapted and applied with stroke clients and with what therapeutic gains.
    I invite your participation in the discussion about Yoga and stroke at my blogsite, http://strokeofyoga.blogspot.com/. What is likely to emerge out of this is a real-time, practice-based information on the topic. So, please come and share your experiences, ideas, and suggestions about the topic and join in an open & healthy discussion with other like-interest practitioners.
    Please share any information along the lines of what type of Yoga is used, how often, how is it adapted, which specific Yogic concepts are used, and how long it takes before the results are seen.
    I project to start summarizing the blog site activities by May 15th 2009.
    I sincerely appreciate your time and consideration. Your contribution is indispensable to the success of this undertaking and for future growth of knowledge in this area.
    Sincerely,
    Rashmi Bhatia, OTR/L

    Reply
  • 7. barbara smith  |  May 9, 2009 at 8:43 am

    re: the grandmother with alzheimers. I know that it is a shock to see the changes but the way you as a family member and OT can help the patient is to forget about how shocking and sad this is for YOU and focus on how to help HER enjoy activities and life. I have a lot of resources on my website to help achieve that so please check them out under the geriatrics page. We OT’s need to help family members find activities to enjoy doing with loved ones. That will help them feel useful and create a connection, a new type of connection. I wish I had that type of OT support when I went through 8 years of AD with my mother. Best of luck,
    barbara
    barbarasmithoccupationaltherapist.com

    Reply
  • 8. Andrew Mantle  |  July 1, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Hi. I am a Masters of OT student at McMaster in Ontario, Canada. One of my areas of interest is in the role of Occupational Therapists for improving the lives of individuals living with Alzheimer’s and their families. My Grandfather has also been living with the disease for the last 5-7 years.

    For me, the hardest part is hearing the stories of people who try to deny that they have the disease. They experience so much emotional pain and shame trying to ignore what is happening.

    I have really enjoyed the work of Thomas Kitwood. I would also recommend a program that was featured on Krista Tippets “Speaking of Faith” program. It was entitled “Alzheimer’s Memory, and Being”. It aired on March 26, 2009 and you could likely find it through itunes or through the speaking of faith website.

    All the best to you as you walk this journey with your Grandmother.

    Andrew

    Reply
  • 9. SotAllert  |  November 24, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Fantastic, I didn’t know about that up to now. Thx.

    Reply
  • 10. Lisa Halstead  |  October 7, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Has anyone noticed a connection with hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease? There have been several recent studies that list social connectiveness as an important factor in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s. My mother became hard of hearing and I noticed her lack of partipation with conversation. She also began to show signs of dementia. She refused to get hearing aids but I often wonder if they would have helped slow the disease process for her. I am not aware of any studies on the subject but I think a study might prove to be very interesting.

    Reply
    • 11. Debbie Champeau  |  October 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm

      I does makes sense. I have read about the importance of social relationships and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. I agree that would be an interesting study

      Reply
    • 12. Rachel Slack  |  November 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

      The declining senses (vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell) of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are of great interest to researchers. Multiple research studies have noted the connection of hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting a strong correlation between cognitive decline and the severity of hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect multiple facets of an individual’s life progression the symptoms of dementia. I have found the Hearing Journal extremely insightful when exploring the latest research regarding hearing loss and Alzheimer’s.

      http://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/pages/default.aspx

      Reply
  • 13. Danielle  |  November 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I am sorry to hear about your grandmother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease. I believe that this is one area, at least in my curriculum that we do not focus on. I believe that I would have had the same response that you did, if I had an experience like that one. I think that our curriculum should address better the way that we should interact with people who have diseases like Alzheimer’s.

    Reply
  • 14. Surgical Towel  |  March 19, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Incidentally, I like the way you have structured your site, it is
    super and very easy to follow. I have bookmarked you and will be back regularly. Thank you

    Reply
  • 15. shobi  |  March 19, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.

    Reply
  • 16. julie  |  April 14, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    It is through experiences like this that we develop a better sense of therapeutic use of self. I hope the best for your grandmother.

    Reply
  • 17. Rachel Thomas  |  May 8, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Dementia is a tough one to handle, especially when your loved ones have it. I have a granddad that has it and every time I go visit him I have to be careful that I don’t bombard him with my presence as he will have no clue of who I am. However, I believe I’ll learn from these personal experiences with my granddad and plan to apply how i deal with the situations in the future for when i work wiht my own patients.For example, on arrival into there rooms I will always approach them softly, will introduce myself and try to make the person as comfortable as possible without startling them, where I can then try to build a therapeutic relationship with them.

    Reply
  • 18. Occupational Therapy Jobs  |  January 7, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Dementia is a very sad for everyone. I volunteer at ALF’s to help and speak to the patients. You can find more information about Occupational Therapy at http://www.hcpsearchgroup.com

    Reply
  • 19. Melissa Spurling-Purkis  |  April 22, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Hi, I am an OT student in the UK in my final year post grad diploma- I wonder whether you have something similar in your hospitals as the ‘This is me booklet’? http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/download_info.php?downloadID=399
    I have just discovered your blog- its really useful thank you, and keep up the good work!
    Melissa

    Reply

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